The Non-Sailing Sailing Regatta
Earlier in the year, the team began preparations for the re-launch of our previously annual Inter-schools Regatta that had been a highlight in our sailing calendar, pre-pandemic.
Excited meetings were held, invites created, medals ordered and polished and, most importantly, sponsorship pleas answered by the generous financial services company, Saffery Champness, without whom the event wouldn’t have been able to go ahead.
And then we saw the forecast.
We’re used to some weather this far west but Friday 14th July, the weather gods seemed to be conspiring against us, whipping up the gale force winds and filling up the rainclouds fit to burst. Emergency comms commenced, with the issuing of a yellow weather warning by the local council leading to talk of cancelling the event altogether.
But never fear! CST and their students are made of sterner stuff – this is where those confidence, competence and resilience skills kick in – and having spoken to the schools and parents, the decision was made to Keep Calm and Carry On… with a non-sailing sailing regatta!
The on-shore committee had to downsize operations for the beach party, as without the pre-planned boats to help carry gazebos and tables to the rather remote Porth Sawson beach location, we didn’t fancy schlepping heavy boxes over fields from Mawnan to the waterside. But we rallied. Trustees and volunteers, watersports team and office staff liaised triumphantly to bring together south and north side of the river in one (slightly drizzly) happy regatta.
Lead Instructor Lucy (aka Long John Lucy, the pirate with the loudest voice) blew the whistle and the kids lined up with different toots denoting different actions, bemused non-sailors wondering what it all meant. But our little students knew and jumped into action, taking to each event with gusto. At one end of the beach, Austin and Ben manned the Captain’s Quiz, the Sea Shanty competition rang out from the beach shed forecourt, and many a sail was rigged at full speed at the other end. All the while, puffed out children pumped with all their might to inflate MEGA SUPS in the fastest possible time.
It was glorious to see so many of our sailing students brought together from lots of local schools, laughing and trying so hard to do their best against the elements. And they had quite the audience – despite the difficulties getting to us, so many people made the effort to support the event, cheering us on and clamouring to buy the raffle tickets. In fact, we ran out of tickets in under an hour and scrambled to make more as fast as we could sell them. There were wonderful prizes donated by generous companies such as Budock Vean Hotel, Ann’s Pasties, Vicky’s Bread, Rossmore Oysters, St Austell Brewery, Port Navas Yacht Club, Fourth Element, Mel Chambers (artist) and Vintage Roots wine – raising an incredible total for our charity of £757!
Once the fun and games were finished and the points were being totted up, the mouthwatering handmade sausage rolls and brownies from Gear Farm Pasty Co. were handed out to all and sundry and declared as the best thing eaten in recent memory! (That’s an unofficial recommendation, there) But on to the important bit…
Prize-giving! A specific set of whistle blows from Long John Lucy brought the children running to gather in the centre of the beach where Honorary Vice-Presidents, Charles Richardson hung medals around necks and Jonathan Thornton presented the beautiful wooden Schools’ Plaque, kindly made by local cabinet maker Brian and CNC operator Jules.
There were medals for bronze, silver and gold, with certificates for all involved for their hard work and perseverance on the day. And congratulations to Wendron Primary School, whose name will be engraved forever more as the 2023 winners!
Our special thanks go to Saffery Champness for the sponsorship that allowed us to put on the event for free, Helford Gig Club for their willingness to perform, Mark Mercer bringing the flat-bottomed Helford River Boat to rescue the food from the south shore, Mawnan Old Church PCC for use of their parking, Mawnan Cricket Club for their car park, National Trust for use of their shed, Tony Chown (volunteer supreme), Ferry Boat Inn for use of their fridge, August Rock Adventures for more boat promises and ultimately Chris and Rosie Fawell for use of their lovely beach.
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